The Mystery of the Piano on a Miami Sandbar Inspires Copycat

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An aspiring artist who placed a baby grand piano on the sandbar has spurred another fanciful display in the middle of the ocean.

Sixteen-year-old Nicholas Harrington’s art school application became a sensation for its spontaneity last week. The sandy dune offshore in Miami’s Biscayne Bay was affectionately titled “Piano Bar,” as fascinated residents attempted to figure out where the burnt-out baby grand came from. But authorities weren’t awestruck, explaining that it was illegal to dump the instrument. So two admirers of the precariously perched piano and its Christo-style display came to its rescue – Carl Bentulan and his son decided to make the piano a collector’s item.

(More on TIME.com: See the legacy of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, environmental artists.)

But that meant “Piano Bar” was left depressingly bare on Thursday, after days of bright-eyed gazers and bright-flashed photographers were left staring mystically. However, it didn’t remain empty for very long. By Friday, the “Piano Bar” had morphed into a different type of establishment. A romantic scene from a restaurant was in place of the eloquent piano, complete with a small table, two chairs, a vase of red roses, and a bottle of wine. Standing by to take orders was a statue of a chef.

(More on TIME.com: See 50 authentic American experiences.)

It was a quaint scene for a quaint sandbar, but again, Miami’s Department of Environmental Resources Management found the work more of a felony than a fascination. By mid-morning, the makeshift restaurant had been loaded onto a small boat and hauled away by officials – a much easier removal than the 650-pound baby grand piano.

Authorities are worried the site will become a chronic showcase for spontaneous environmental art – but would that really be so bad?

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